Rusalka (The Water Nymph)

by D.   Feb 27, 2019

Near the woodland marsh,
desperate pleas gargle
under the

lured, so, by her
melodious song,
tender and innocent
as the lark’s
morning chirrup,
it weaves itself through
the sorry darkness,

as mayflies dance
upon the carcasses, the
tips of her toes stir
the skin of the lake,

only death will not wait,
as patiently as she,
for unwary victim
to peer through the
cracks ‘tween the trees;

towards the lady perched
naked, upon the rocks;
unmatted auburn curls
draped over her breasts,

a single finger -


wading through the still,
bare chill of the swamp,
he will gaze into the
dusklit omens of her

of which the browns
and greens of the woodland


a kiss,

an embrace,

and thrust into the gloomy
dank of the lake,
begging for breath,
for reprieve,

as she.

Drowned like the witch,
they thought she’d been,

now blackened waves of
knotted hair bind his

she grins coldly
beneath -

come, soon,


Inspired by Rusalki; woodland, lake bound nymphs, similar to a siren who lure young men to a watery grave. Rusalki were often said to be women who commited suicide in a lake, or were killed, and remained a rusalka until their death was avenged.


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Latest Comments

  • 3 years ago

    by Xaque

    The writer created very colorful and detailed world and led me through it with an engaging flow, especially the sequence "swirl,/ come,/ a kiss,/ an embrace," My favorite stanza was "as mayflies dance/ upon the carcasses, the /tips of her toes stir /the skin of the lake," It immersed me into the poem.

  • 5 years ago

    by sammiej

    I think you have the seasons wrong in this poem, you contradict yourself in nearly every line if it’s Sludgy it’s not green. you say the morning then you talk about it being dark! and then you talk about the marshes come on mate you’re good at criticising other peoples work look at your own. ????part from That you have an imagination

    • 5 years ago

      by D.

      It feels like you were looking for things to criticise here. I didn’t once say it was morning. I compared her song with a morning bird. :) with regards to the vocabulary used, I don’t understand how greens and browns are impossible colours given the setting? There are differences between swamps, bogs, marshes, I know. I simply used them here as synonyms. The reader isn’t stupid - they can imagine this scene pretty well.

      There’s a difference between constructive criticism and this comment, I hope you realise.

  • 5 years ago

    by The Poet Behind The Poems

    I can see why this truly striking piece won...
    I mean it's hard to take an original idea and truly make it your own. They are suspected to be a sort of evil mermaid in modern culture but anyway..

    towards the lady perched
    naked, upon the rocks;
    unmatted auburn curls
    draped over her breasts,

    This was the stranza that made it for me the images the words everything just hits you.


  • 5 years ago

    by Meena Krish

    This is so mystical and alluring yet it's a
    sad story....nicely penned and I liked it
    very much. Congrats non the win!

  • 5 years ago

    by Larry Chamberlin

    Magnificent! I had long wanted to commemorate rusalki but you have done it so much better than I could hope to I feel satisfied with your work.
    You might find great joy in the Rusalka trilogy by C. J. Cherryh.

    • 5 years ago

      by D.

      Thank you Larry! I will be sure to. I spent a long time looking at some shorter synopsises before I wrote it. Was kind of transfixed by the lore behind it!

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